Saturday, April 7, 2012

The zenith of the church calendar

For those who imagine the Catholic Church to be anything other than the holiest institution ever guided by the hand of man, I can only sigh in sadness as I behold in awe the majesty of it's seasons of worship.

The Catholic Liturgical calendar lives out the entire salvation story each and every year. In fact, in a period of about 4 months.

The calendar starts at the beginning of the month of December, with the season of Advent, even as the life of the plants and the flowers and the trees display their allegorical summation of life. From the youth of green and white and rose, these flowers and trees have given way to the fall of their lives where classic gold, and rustic brown, color the landscape in a cornucopia of seasoned distinction, like a wise old man with spectacles perched on his nose.

The contrast to me, is striking. Even as fall- the season of the seasoned- gives way to the death and unforgiving bite of winter's chill, we are warmed with the soft and growing fire of the expectation of hope.

Around the solstice, the shortest of time, the people who walk in darkness see the great light of Christmas- the season of light. The shortest, yet most joyous, season of the year for millions.

The Christmas season ends liturgically, just as the civil new year begins with it's new hopes, dreams and resolutions, even as we shiver through the very coldest part of the year- that time between our Lady's solemnity on Jan 1st and the Epiphany on the 6th, to Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday- the start of Lent- could not be at a more suited time in synchronicity. Lent is short for a word meaning lengthening and literally speaks to the fact the days are indeed getting longer as we crawl from winter's grip towards both the Spring of the Resurrection and the Spring of the Calendar.

At the end of lent, we enter the commemoration of the most epic and consequential 100 hours or so in the history of the world. The institution of the Mass, the betrayal, the trial, the horror of the Passion, the disciples fleeing in terror, the grief unimaginable......

All growing and growing and growing like a dramatic symphony ringing through all time and space, to the unimaginable joy of the Resurrection.

Who can imagine what Mary Magdalene and the others felt in their hearts as the ran breathlessly back, belting out, with exclamations of rapture, "He is Risen! He is Risen! He's Alive! He's Alive! He's Alive!"

I would long, just once in my life, to know joy like that.

"He is Risen! He is Risen!
He's Alive! He's Alive! He's Alive!"

Could any other, but a Church filled with light, create a calendar like this? No. Happy Easter everyone. Listen to a special Easter message

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